Hope for HIE – Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy Hope for HIE – Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy


March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

March 12th, 2024  | Advocacy  | Cerebral Palsy  | News


March is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

Cerebral palsy is one of the more common diagnoses from HIE. While HIE-related cerebral palsy only accounts for roughly 10-15% of all cerebral palsy causes, roughly 40% of children diagnosed with HIE will be diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

We are sharing all about the connection between HIE and cerebral palsy during March, and sharing resources for our community to learn more.

Fast Facts about HIE and Cerebral Palsy:

  • HIE is NOT the same thing as cerebral palsy. HIE is pathophysiological diagnosis that causes a lack of oxygen, restricting blood flow, affecting the brain, with different causes leading to HIE.
  • HIE can cause Cerebral Palsy.
  • Not every child who experiences HIE develops CP, only about 40%.
  • HIE-caused CP only makes up about 10-15% of ALL CP cases. Most are caused by other types of brain injuries, stroke, prematurity, brain bleeds, genetic causes, etc.
  • Cerebral Palsy is a neurological motor disorder, and the most common one diagnosed in childhood. It can affect any muscle and has a range of severity.
  • Just like there is no cure for HIE, there is no cure for CP. There are, however, a bunch of therapies and treatments and more being developed every day!
  • Cerebral palsy doesn’t affect cognition. Although some people carry a dual diagnosis, many people living with CP have typical cognition.
  • Life may look different, but life is still good. Perpetuating stigmas of CP being something “bad” or something to pity aren’t helpful for those who live with this condition, but being aware of how we can improve accessibility and inclusion for those who have CP is helpful!
General Information on Cerebral Palsy

Types of Cerebral Palsy:

More Information on Types of Cerebral Palsy

Diagnosis and Assessment:

Diagnosis for cerebral palsy should be made as soon as suspected. For a long time, many physicians were hesitant to diagnose before the age of two, but as we know, early intervention therapies are very important for the overall development of children with neurological conditions. Many physicians and researchers, including Dr. Bhooma Aravamuthan who serves on our Medical Advisory Board, are leading change and opening discussions to this issue.

Criteria typically includes some imaging, such as an MRI, a medical history, and clinical presentation assessment of how a child moves, and what their muscles are doing, if they have spasticity, dystonia or hypotonia.

As a child develops, many physicians and therapists will assess a child according to the Gross Motor Function Classification System

This system, developed by CanChild, has corresponding benchmarks as children age that may be helpful to look at for parents as well to get an idea of where their child is in their development. Children often can and do move up classifications as they develop and work through therapies.

GMFCS ages 0-18
Descriptors and Illustrations ages 6-18

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